KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders have joined the chorus in urging the government to call for a special Dewan Rakyat sitting to discuss the current flood situation in the country.
PKR information chief Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said issues on the slow emergency response, lack of coordination on search and rescue efforts as well as mobilising assets must be immediately discussed in a public forum.
Shamsul, who is Hang Tuah Jaya member of parliament, said as the head of the Dewan Rakyat council, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob should call for an emergency sitting so that the Lower House could dissect all issues pertaining to the flood crisis.
“I am in Melaka now and the situation here is bad. Where are the boats, food and mattresses for flood victims? Does this country seriously not have enough assets for its own people to use during a disaster?
“Where are the cabinet ministers? I don’t see any of them in Melaka although they had just won the state election here.null
“Where are they, now that they have won big in the election? The prime minister must call for an emergency Dewan Rakyat sitting to discuss the management of the flood crisis,” he told the New Straits Times.
Yesterday, Umno had made a similar call, saying the House needs to meet to debate on the sloppy and weak coordination of related agencies, which should have been activated by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) in facing the current floods.
Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said a special sitting should be held to enable elected representatives to voice their views and put up proposals to help the government seek the best solutions to handle the disaster.
Given the severity of the situation which had so far cost at least 54 lives, Zahid said the government must heed the call of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to conduct a post-mortem on the flood disaster.
DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said the Dewan Rakyat also must discuss the expenses that the government needed to fork out since the 2022 Budget had already been tabled last year.
“From which ministries or agencies will this money come from? How much has been spent and how much more is needed? How can we make sure every single flood victim will get the necessary assistance to rebuild their life?
“Actually, we had a good opportunity to debate this on Dec 20 but the Dewan Rakyat Speaker (Tan Sri Azizan Harun) shot down the request for a debate.
“We had ample time and this is a critical issue. It should’ve been debated then when the flood crisis had just begun. It was disappointing to see the Speaker refuse to let MPs speak at the time,” he said.
Ramkarpal was referring to the additional Dewan Rakyat sitting on Dec 20 where MPs were given a last-minute notice to attend despite the meeting being initially scheduled to end on Dec 17.
The Dec 20 session was called so that the second and third readings of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Bill 2021 could be presented to the House.
However, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had asked for the House to postpone the reading of the bill so that the amendments could be further streamlined.
Following that, several MPs asked Azhar to allow debates on the floods given that the House had no other business to discuss on that day.
Azhar, however, rejected the request and ended the sitting.
Parti Amanah Negara deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub said although some states have recovered from the flood, issues regarding garbage and channelling assistance to flood victims remained.
“Our frontliners are doing their work but not all of them are mobilised. We have so many assets to spare but where are they?
“Take Melaka for example. The people in Melaka are still struggling with the floods so is this how the government handles a disaster there after winning Melaka?
“The prime minister should not feel embarrassed to call for an emergency sitting because it is his image at stake here,” Salahuddin said.
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